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30 May 2011

Ayn Rand and the "Californian Ideology" as Proximate Causes of U.S. Economic Decline

Adam Curtis' documentary,All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (2011).



Ayn Rand, a Jewess born in Russia, got into Hollywood screenwriting through Jewish connections. After being required to write a screenplay for a story in which she hated all the characters, she wrote her novel The Fountainhead, which was on a similar theme as the screenplay but espoused pursuit of self-interest. It became a bestseller.

In her next novel, Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand attacked altruism. The talented and creative people go on strike and the USA collapses. After the collapse the creative people return to build a society based on “the virtue of selfishness.”

The extreme individualist ideology that she espoused directly conflicted with mainstream social thinking since the Great Depression, which was based on the (true) understanding that uninhibited pursuit of self-interest had been an underlying cause of the Depression. Rand was propagandizing for that piece of acquired wisdom to be discarded.

Ayn Rand’s circle considered themselves to be promoting a revolution toward “a totally free society.”

Enter the idolators of technology. Silicon Valley entrepreneurs of the 1980s were heavily influenced by Ayn Rand. The Californian Ideology said that computers would enable everyone to become a Randian hero. Computers would allow the world to become more free, ordered through individual choices, with less need of government to maintain order, including less need of economic regulation. Extreme individualism and antipathy toward government translate into globalism and free trade.

Allan Greenspan was a member of Ayn Rand’s circle. An economic boom started during the Clinton administration, after Allan Greenspan persuaded Clinton to cut taxes. It was believed that the boom could go on forever because of the controlling factor of computers, keeping everybody well informed and preventing anything from going too far as had occurred prior to the Great Depression. This was called “the new economy.”

Greenspan worried, however, because he noticed that profits were increasing while there was no increase in productivity. He warned in 1996 that the market was overvalued, but then changed his mind under pressure, deciding that computers were somehow contributing to productivity in ways that he could not detect.

The documentary points out Ayn Rand’s inability to live in a purely rational manner, while convincing herself that everything that she did was rational. Similarly, despite the pervasive implementation of new technology, human nature remained the same.

By 1997 the U.S. Government was dominated by global free-trade thinkers. Southeast Asian nations were pressured to open their economies to foreign investment. Joseph Stiglitz of the Council of Economic Advisors was worried about this. He says that it was only in the interest of a very small group of people to do this. Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin blocked the CEA’s attempt to warn the president. Stiglitz believed that Rubin was working for the finance markets.

Overly optimistic investment in Thailand and South Korea led to economic crisis in those countries. The IMF offered loans to stabilize their economies, under the condition that the governments eliminate economic barriers in those  countries. Indonesia also was pressured to make this agreement in 1998. What happened was that the IMF bailout money was used to allow Western investors to withdraw their investments: then the economies collapsed. Then U.S. taxpayers had to bail out the IMF.

Robert Rubin was making these decisions while Bill Clinton was tied up with the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Power over U.S. foreign policy had been transferred in effect from the elected President of the United States to financiers. (This could last so long as the president is merely an idiotic or corrupt frontman willing to acquiesce in plutocratic predations.)

The attack on the World Trade Center was an attack on a symbol of the Ayn Rand ideology. This economic shock exposed weaknesses in the economy: many companies like Enron had been falsifying profits and concealing debts. (Result of deregulation.)

Stability of the U.S. economy after the World Trade Center attacks was maintained by the Chinese Politburo. China sold cheap goods to the USA and used the profits to buy US Treasury Bonds, which in turn funded lending to bad credit risks. In 2008, when this orgy of bad lending came to a crashing end, the United States taxpayer was required to save the bankers from the consequences of their bad lending decisions just as had occurred in 1998.

U.S. society is now stuck in a way of looking at the world that is false and produces bad results. The rule of unregulated self-interest turns out to be the rule of a few super-wealthy financiers, without accountability.


Pastor Martin Luther Dzerzhinsky Lindstedt said...

Hadding, you loveless mattoid meercat, this actually is an intelligent article. The kikess Ayn Rand/Alicia Greenbaum was actually promoting as 'objectivism' nothing but self-serving solipsism. Something that you also suffer from Hadding.

Now if only you will dump WhiggerSwill, Obagender-bender-pissers-poofter-possum, my former baal-priest LiarBill 'MumpsNutz' DeClue(less) and stop being a traitor by yapping shit about Edgar Steele -- The Whigger-Whimperer -- you might actually someday becum less of a stupid ZOGling whigger ass-clown.

Something to consider, Hadding. You need a new intellectjewall leader now that Pierce has achieved ZOG-room temperature. How about packing up the senile Chihuahua and joining Tubby Covington in the Great Northwest?

Hail Victory!!!

Pastor Martin Luther Dzerzhinsky Lindstedt
Church of Jesus Christ Christian/Aryan Nations of Missouri

Hadding said...

I am pleased that you enjoyed it, Marty. These Adam Curtis documentaries are pretty good, and the ones that I've seen all touch on mischief committed by Jews. But he leaves a lot of unstated implications. Writing a summary helps me to clarify for myself, as well as other people, the significance of everything that was presented.

As for having Covington as my new leader, well, as you know, he's a pathological liar. So I think not.

writerspleasure said...

Debunked pseido-documentary: http://fuguewriter.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/notes-on-a-terrible-bbc-documentary-taking-on-ayn-rand/

Hadding said...

I read that Fuguewriter review yesterday. Although there may be some errors in the documentary, they were relatively unimportant and didn't make it into my summary.

Many of the Ayn Rand cultists' criticisms are really just a matter of interpretation. They say that for Ayn Rand romantic love is the highest value. Well, that loses its meaning when you consider Ayn Rand's robotic conception of what romantic love means. Somebody said that Ayn Rand never used the term "virtues of selfishness." Well, one of the interviewees from her inner circle used exactly those words. It's not without basis.

There is a criticism that it's never made clear that Allan Greenspan broke with the Rand Cult. I don't see that as a significant omission, because Greenspan as portrayed in the documentary is not the villain so much as one who vacillates. OBVIOUSLY he's not acting according to a single preconceived ideology at all times. It's never suggested that Greenspan is not trying to do the right thing -- unlike Robert Rubin, who was alleged to be distorting U.S. foreign policy and causing economic disasters in Southeast Asia for the benefit of a few Wall Street plutocrats.

I did notice some biases in the documentary, like speaking of the causes of the Great Depression in terms of moral vices ("selfishness and greed") instead of the fact that unregulated capitalism itself is inherently self-destructive. They also seem to like Hillary Clinton a WHOLE lot. Some of the footage of her seemed totally gratuitous (although I must say she wasn't too hard on the eyes).

I understand that Ayn Rand cultists hate this documentary and I've read their objections, but on the whole I still think it's pretty good.